Somehow it has taken me way too long to add a doorbell camera to our home automation tools. Last week I decided it was time to do that, and add a few couple more cameras to the system. This post will cover the door bell setup, and a future post will add the other cameras as I haven’t installed those on the house yet.
A little background, our home automation solution here is built on a few different technologies, the backbone of my system is Insteon based, for lights doors and other triggered items, but I also have Google Home devices, Nest thermostats. I’m able to easily trigger a variety of lights in my house by voice, simply saying “Hey Google, turn on X light”.
I also have a couple of Foscam cameras powered by POE (power over ethernet) that I have hooked up as well. They are not connected to the Insteon system, but I think technically could be. For DVR I have a blue iris system running that connects to both cameras and records any triggered events, and also takes a specific photo every hour for my @Gardentoc bot on Twitter.
One camera was for the back yard, specifically taking photos/video of the garden, and one currently sees SOME of the front yard, but doesn’t have a great view of the front door visitors. Both cameras are older tech, while they say they are 1080p, the quality leaves a bit to be desired.
For a front door camera I wanted to get something that had the following qualities
- Good quality
- Harder to hack
I think most solutions can provide the first 3 options, but my concern with “cheap” cameras is that they aren’t necessarily supported and potentially open to hacks, more so than hopefully some of the better supported, higher dollar cameras. With that in mind it came down to the Ring and Nest camera line up. I wasn’t sure which one to choose, but because I already had Nest devices, and Google Home devices in the house, I decided that the Shop Nest Products at Smarthome.com - Nest Hello camera would be the way to go.
I was able to easily setup that camera in our house, with a quick install. What I ended up finding out during my install though was that my Nest account, was not tied to my Google account, where all my Google Home devices were. So I ended up setting up the camera twice, and setting up the Nest devices again, by removing them from the Nest account, and adding them back to my Google account.
From there I was able to add the Nest Hello to my Blue Iris system fairly easily. This does require that you make the camera public, and then add the public Url into Blue Iris, once I did that things were up and running simply.
For now I have the Nest Hello notifications enabled, I might end up not paying for the Nest subscription, we’ll see. With Blue Iris I think I can ultimately setup some notifications, but we’ll see if it is easy, or worth just paying for the Nest subscription. I’ll post some future updates on the quality of the camera after we have it running for a while. As of now, Nest seems to notify us quite often of “people” outside, especially at night, when there is no one there.